Volume 62, Issue 3, Summer 2018
Ricoeur and Anglo-American Political Philosophy
Liberalism, Communitarianism, and Republicanism
It is a common conviction that Ricoeur’s main contribution to Anglo-American political philosophy is to be found in the dialogue he tried to establish between liberalism and communitarianism. I argue that the depth of Ricoeur’s political philosophy is better served by situating it not only with regard to liberalism and communitarianism, but especially with regard to republicanism. This article shows how Ricoeur’s political philosophy—with its focus on the so-called “political paradox”—contains the main components of contemporary republicanism, with its stress on active citizenship and mixed constitution as necessary prerequisites for freedom, interpreted as the absence of illegitimate domination. I also argue that there are, however, significant differences between Ricoeur’s theory and the main currents in contemporary republicanism, civic republicanism, and civic humanism, because of his reliance on a positive conception of freedom on the one hand and his emphasis on the fragility of politics on the other hand.